Mother Teresa founded the Order of the Missionaries of Charity. It is a Roman Catholic congregation of women dedicated to helping the poor and dying.
She’s often times referred to as the nun who became a saint.
Catholics call her Mother Teresa of Calcutta because she dedicated her life to caring for the destitute in Calcutta. However, she was born in Albania and did not arrive in India until 1929.
Here are 7 surprising facts you probably didn’t know about her:
1. Christopher Hitchens called one of her ministries a “cult”
A very critical documentary was produced by Hitchens where he publicly criticized Mother Teresa.
Christopher Hitchens was a controversial writer of his time.
He wrote thought-provoking publications which covered a range of serious topics, including art and atheism.
He said that saying that the Homes for the Dying were a “cult of death and suffering.”
The homes he was referring to offered medical care to the dying.
In Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying in Calcutta, Muslims were read the Koran, Hindus received water from the Ganges, and Catholics received the last rites.
2. She received a Nobel Peace Prize
Because of her efforts to feed the hungry and dying, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
A publication states that it is a reward for her work to overcome poverty and distress in the world.
The $192,000 she received was donated to the poor in India.
3. She is pro-life
When she accepted her Nobel Peace Prize, her speech was controversial at the time.
“The greatest destroyer of peace today is the cry of the innocent unborn child. For if a mother can murder her own child in her womb, what is left for you and for me to kill each other?”
She does not only condemn abortion but also contraception.
4. She became a beggar
In 1948, she left the security of the convent to live and work among the poor.
But, it also meant she had no money for herself. She begged on the streets and was often tempted to return to the comfort of the convent.
5. She suffered a crisis of faith
A letter from Mother Teresa shows that she felt empty.
She said “I look and do not see, listen and do not hear, the tongue moves [in prayer] but does not speak… I want you to pray for me, that I let Him have [a] free hand.”
6. She said leprosy is a gift from God
A review of her life discovered that she once called leprosy “a very beautiful gift of God”.
For her devotees, it could be used to “learn to love the unloved”.
Mother Teresa claims that those with a disfiguring disease can be tools for us to learn empathy.
7. She said AIDS is retribution
During her meeting with the International Health Organization, she stated that AIDS is not from God.
For her, it was a just retribution for improper sexual conduct.
Her most famous words
Her life is indeed full of controversial issues.
Some people may not agree with her works. But, one can really see that she exudes humility and a helpful spirit.
With that, we can get inspiration from her life to help and build each other up:
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
“Intense love does not measure, it just gives.”
“Peace begins with a smile.”
“Live simply so others may simply live.”
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”
“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.”
“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”
“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”
“Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.”
“Joy is a net of love in which you can catch souls.”
“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”
“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”
“If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.”
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
‘The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.”